Wind turbine scrapped, biomass an option for Olympic Park

By Anna Austin
Posted June 3, 2010, at 11:01 a.m. CST

After more than two years of research and industry engagement, London's Olympic Delivery Authority has determined that it is no longer feasible to install a wind turbine at the 2012 Summer Olympic Park and is now investigating other options, including a biomass gasification combined-heat-and-power (CHP) unit, to meet previously set renewable energy requirements.

The wind turbine was proposed for the park to meet ODA's target to deliver 20 percent of the Olympic Park's legacy energy requirements from renewable sources from 2014 onward, when the site is fully operational. The ODA selected a preferred bidder in December 2008, but it wasn't until 2010 that new health and safety regulations were enforced, which for design reasons, applied to the type of wind turbine selected for the project.

According to the ODA, the preferred bidder's turbine supplier felt unable to comply with the new regulations-specifically related to the internal operator lift-before the Olympics and subsequently withdrew from the project. Further engagement with the industry concluded that the new safety requirements would be undeliverable in the proposed timetable.

ODA Chief Executive David Higgins described the last two years as "an exhaustive process," and said the ODA is now researching a number of other alternative renewable energy options across the Olympic Park site, one of which is a biomass gasification CHP unit.

The unit would be located close to an energy center being built at the Olympic Park site, and would gasify biomass such as wood chips to produce a synthesis gas that would power generators. Excess heat would be captured and reused at the site. The ODA is now working on a business plan for the possible procurement and installation of the biomass unit.

In addition to the biomass unit, photo voltaic solar panels are being looked at as a possibility. The ODA expects further decisions to be made on both renewable energy options this summer.